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Vannon – Desert Of Our Dreams

Desert Of Our Dreams
by Neil Beardsley at 06 December 2021, 8:09 AM

In The Minority ~ My grandma always said, if you can’t say anything nice then don’t say anything at all. I’ve always tried to uphold the belief of that sweet, grey-haired nonagenarian but then again, she’s never had to listen to “Desert Of Our Dreams”, the debut full release from Oakland based band VANNON. Not only that, but it would appear, amongst other metal music reviewers, I am indeed on my own in the opinion, and it is only my opinion, that this isn’t a "wild and satisfying ride." nor are "VANNON clearly ahead of the pack." On the contrary I found this to be confusing as hell, self-indulgent and I’m sorry to say, dull.

So, lets get some context. The band, formed as recently as 2019, and describe themselves as “psych-metal band blending doom, stoner and viking metal with retro synths, contemporary composition and Americana.” Confused? Right? There are some seriously opposing concepts there. Its like they just threw as many sub-genres as they could into a blender and poured out the mixture hoping that we’d be suckered into it, clearly a lot have. I’d also like to point out that band bashing really isn’t something I like to indulge in. Listen, anyone who is talented enough to write and record music has my respect. Messers Hodes, Pazarek, Johnson and Willbrand are obviously talented musicians and have clearly produced something that has pleased a lot of people, just not me.

The album begins with 1.08 minute instrumental called “Call Up A Storm”. This actually does create an atmospheric introduction and builds to what seems to be a fantastic crescendo before kicking into what is the only memorable track on the album. Despite the mix being ‘off’, “Two Snakes” does possess some good riffs, with the vocal range of Hodes sliding from OSDM to Speed or even Power metal. Unfortunately, by the end of track 2 we have already peaked and no amount of the retelling of ‘Exodus’ can attract the wavering attention of this grumpy Yorkshireman.

The rest of the album stumbles its way from uninspiring track to another whilst desperately attempting to crowbar as many different genres into each song as it can. Many have described this as forward looking, contemporary or ground breaking!! I’m sorry I’m not buying it, it’s just a very confused muddle. By the time we reach the albums concluding track, the epic (in duration. 12 Minutes!!) “I Come To Destroy” with its Maidenesque intro, we’ve already been beaten into submission but the swift conclusion doesn’t come. A shame really, because if you chopped off 5 minutes from this track you might actually have had the 2nd memorable song on the album.

Here’s the thing, I’d much rather see a band be really ambitious in what they attempt to do and not quite pull it off then churn out the same old metal as hundreds of other bands. With “Desert Of Our Dreams” the guys in VANNON have been hugely ambitious, but, for me, they haven’t quite pulled it off, There will be, however, and are already many who are embracing this record and holding it with high esteem. Personally, I wish they would fish a little shallower and maybe focus on just the odd sub-genre as opposed to the entire scene.

Songwriting: 5
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 3
Production: 5

2 Star Rating

1. Call Up The Storm
2. Two Snakes
3. The First And Last
4. Above The Stars
5. Desert Of Our Dreams
6. Took Off Running (Feat. Scott Hawkins guitars)
7. Cold July
8. I Come To Destroy (Feat. Tatyana Dimitrova vocals)
Max Hodes – Lead Vocals/Guitars
Sven Pazarek – Synths/Back Up Vocals
Dylan Johnson – Drums
Nick Willbrand - Bass
Record Label: Big Round Music


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